¡Buenas Tardes Queridos Amigos!
To set the scene, I’m writing this from my new flat, where I’ve been living for a month, and where I hope to stay for the rest of my time here. It’s a sunny 33°C (well it was when I started writing), and there’s a gentle breeze. This makes a pleasant change from the extremely windy weather we’ve had recently, which makes everything very dusty all the time. The flat is very comfortable and convenient, and has the luxury of a lovely little swimming pool in which to cool off just a minute walk away. I’m very happy here.
We’re drawing ever closer to being able to welcome our first residents to Quinta Totaices (the name of the property and project in Santa Cruz)… hopefully within a month or so… which is very exciting and will be a huge milestone, having spent so long laying the foundations to reach this point.
Andy, Warren, Myron and myself work for Novō as a whole (with the vision of replicating more rehab communities once the Santa Cruz one is up and running). And in our Quinta Totaices team of local staff members, so far we have: José, the Programme Coordinator, who has several years experience of working with people on the streets and was a volunteer at Yeldall Manor (the rehab in England from which the vision for Novō came); David, a Recovery Worker (focusing on therapy groups and one-to-ones); Lincoln, a worker in various aspects of the programme including work supervision, mentoring, and evening/weekend shifts; and Chavela, a part-time Administrator. We are still looking to recruit a Cook/Housekeeper and a Business Team Leader, who will supervise residents at work and run the business/income generating side of the programme. God is pulling together some quality people!
The aim is that through operating an income-generating business (currently exploring a car washing business, which could develop into other services such as oil change, a cafe etc), the project could be 75% locally-sustained by September 2018. We still need to raise £85,000 for 2016-2017, largely coming from our UK and Canada supporters as well as some Trust Funds. Our main goal right now is £20,000 specifically for a project vehicle before we open to residents. We still have a way to go!
As you may have seen, we’re encouraging supporters to consider taking up a challenge or hosting an event to raise some funds. So if you fancy doing a skydive, running a 5k or a marathon, or hosting a dinner party, a quiz night or an afternoon tea (or anything else!) to help reach our target, we’d HUGELY appreciate it. Please get in touch if you’d like help promoting or organising something. Also let me know if you’d like to become a Novō Prayer Partner (roughly weekly emails) or receive the Novō newsletter – click here for the latest one.
I’m doing my bit for fundraising this Sunday, as I’m attempting a tropical 10k race – I know it’s not a marathon, but seriously, it’s HARD work training here! If you’d like to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page – every penny counts! Thank you.
This week I had a moment of feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of things still to get ready. I have a long list of documents to prepare (such as inducting new residents, drug testing procedures, guidelines to working in addiction) as well as the group materials to complete. Andy, José and I will be meeting regularly to talk about the details of the programme, like the discipline procedure, House Rules and timetable etc. Thank goodness we have the knowledge of how Yeldall Manor runs as a starting point. Although we’re making several changes and we have the freedom to invent the programme as we go along, making it fitting to the culture, it is an amazing privilege to have the wealth of resources from Yeldall as a basic framework.
Outside of Novō, here are a few other things I’ve been doing:
- Visiting the homes of a couple of members of El Jordan ministry – they asked me to be a designated translator for some of their team visiting from Canada, so that was an honour!
- Attending a 3-day Christian Counselling course on sexual abuse (all in Spanish) – insightful and helpful, with some startling statistics such as 70% of Bolivians experiencing sexual abuse (mostly in their own home). Shocking that it seems to be such a cultural norm, and yet so incredibly damaging to a nation.
- I visited an Ayoreo village (indigenous people group originally from the jungle who have moved nearer the city in the last 40 years or so). I went with my friend, Hali, who volunteers there with a ministry aiming to reduce the current 80-90% of teenage girls from the people group who enter the sex trade between the ages of 12-16. Another shocking fact and sobering thought that it is such a norm, rather than things we take for granted like getting an education. Please pray for Hali and her team in this challenging work.
- Attending Kairos church (generally followed by lunch with a crowd from the church in a shopping mall food court – very Bolivian!) and also a fortnightly prayer triplet with 2 American missionary friends.
PRAISE AND PRAYER
- Pray for our new staff team – that God would equip them, and that we’d find the right remaining people we need to complete the team.
- That God would provide the finances we need, in particular the £20,000 for the vehicle.
- For the right residents to come onto the programme – that God would be preparing their hearts to be open to receiving God into their lives and receiving help in their addictions.
- Thanks for the privilege it is to be here and for the safety and comfort of my new accommodation.
This has felt like more of a sombre and serious blog post than others. I couldn’t recall any funny Bolivian stories or observations this time – maybe I’m just getting used to the quirks of this place! As usual, I’ve put a few more pics up in the gallery from the past few weeks.
Thank you so much as always for your support.
Love and God’s blessings,